[Breaking] Nirbhaya: Supreme Court dismisses Mukesh's challenge to rejection of mercy plea

The Supreme Court today dismissed the petition filed by Mukesh, convict in the Nirbhaya case, challenging the decision of the President of India to reject his mercy plea.

The judgment was rendered by the Bench of Justices R Banumathi, Ashok Bhushan, and AS Bopanna.

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Pronouncing the verdict today, Justice Banumathi stated that there was no merit in the contention that all material pertaining to the mercy plea was not placed before the President of India.

On the contention of ill treatment of the convict in the prison, the Court said that this ground cannot be taken to challenge the rejection of the mercy plea before the Court.The Court also rejected the contention that the mercy plea was processed at "lightning speed", as a ground for challenge to the President's decision.

"... the quick consideration of the mercy petition and swift rejection of the same cannot be a ground for judicial review of the order passed under Article 72/161 of the Constitution. Nor does it suggest that there was pre-determined mind and non-application of mind."

Supreme Court

Mukesh had approached the Supreme Court after the rejection of his mercy plea by President of India Ram Nath Kovind on January 17.

Justices R Banumathi, Ashok Bhushan and AS Bopanna
Justices R Banumathi, Ashok Bhushan and AS Bopanna

Mukesh had contended that there was no application of mind in the rejection of the mercy plea. Final arguments in the matter had taken place yesterday.

Appearing for Mukesh, Senior Advocate Anjana Prakash argued that there were procedural lapses on the part of the State leading to the rejection of the mercy plea by the President. It was contended that all the documents that are required to be supplied to the President of India for the decision on the mercy plea were not done so.

It was also argued that Mukesh was placed under solitary confinement prior to the rejection of his mercy plea, which is not permitted in law. The report regarding the same was not supplied to the President, the Court was told.

This point was vehemently refuted by the State through Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who told the Court that there were no procedural lapses. He had further submitted that all the relevant documents that are required to be supplied to President were indeed supplied.

Prakash had also raised objection over the hurry with which the mercy plea was dealt with. She pointed out that within two days after the Supreme Court's dismissal of Mukesh's curative petition, the mercy plea was also rejected. The file was processed at "lightning speed", she had argued.

Mehta opposed this submission to say that the Supreme Court in its judgment in Shatrughan Chauhan had directed for disposal of matters concerning mercy pleas expeditiously. He said that the Court had held that delay in execution after awarding of death sentence has a dehumanising effect and, therefore, matters of this nature ought to be dealt with expeditiously.

Mukesh, along with three other convicts, is scheduled to be hanged on February 1.

[Read the Judgment]

Nirbhaya Mukesh Convict Judgment.pdf

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